- Associated Press
Rock Climber Scales Massive Sphere Venue Near the Las Vegas Strip to Protest Abortion
11:13 JST, February 9, 2024
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man who bills himself as “The Official Pro-Life Spider-Man” scaled the exterior of the massive Sphere venue in Las Vegas on Wednesday to raise funds for a pregnant woman, according to a post on his social media site. He was arrested.
Las Vegas police said they began receiving calls about a person climbing the 366-foot-tall (112-meter-tall) spherical structure near the Strip after 10 a.m. The police department confirmed in an email about an hour later that 24-year-old Maison Des Champs had been detained.
His arrest came just days before Las Vegas hosts its first-ever Super Bowl, which is expected to bring more than 330,000 visitors this week.
Des Champs is a local rock climber who has scaled skyscrapers before in Las Vegas and beyond. He posted a short cellphone video Wednesday morning on his Instagram account. The video shows him against a blue but cloudy sky with a GoPro camera strapped to his head.
“Hey guys, I’m here on top of the Sphere,” he says in the video, wind whipping in the background as he explains that his latest stunt was meant to bring attention to his anti-abortion cause while helping raise funds for a pregnant woman who is experiencing homelessness. He said later in a separate post that the money raised will help the woman “cancel her abortion appointment.”
Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill, head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, characterized the incident as a publicity stunt.
Des Champs has been charged with one count of felony destruction of personal property and conspiracy to destroy property, a gross misdemeanor.
Court records on Wednesday evening did not list a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Sphere thanked the authorities “for their support in this matter.”
Des Champs was first arrested by Las Vegas police in August 2021 after scaling the Aria on the Strip. That time, he said he was protesting mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and trespassing, but prosecutors later dismissed the case, court records show.
Des Champs calls himself “The Official Pro-Life Spider-Man” on his social media accounts. Days before last year’s Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, he was detained after scaling Phoenix’s tallest building to promote his anti-abortion cause.
Phoenix Fire Capt. Todd Keller called the stunt “very, very dumb.”
“This is so dangerous,” Keller said at the time. “You put not only yourself in danger, you put firefighters in danger. You put anyone else walking below or anybody around this incident in danger.”
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